Distinguishing perceptual from conceptual categories
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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I The area between sensation and conceptualization is gray and confusing. Despite abundant philosophical and empirical research, results about how to understand this area that command widespread assent are very scarce. One contributory source to this impasse is the fact that, for mature and intact humans, the sensory, the perceptual, and the conceptual seem merged in consciousness. Perception is phenomenally so "cognitively penetrable" - so infused for humans by discursive understanding - that experimental and theoretical efforts to distinguish between it and conceptualization, and consequently between it and sensation, often seem constrained only by whatever favored theory drives the effort. In what follows, I consider reasons for distin- guishing perceptual from conceptual categories and suggest a way of making the distinction. First, however, some preliminaries will help make clearer just what topic is under discussion.
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